by James A. Martin

5 new and noteworthy features in iOS Evernote

Jan 20, 2017
Consumer ElectronicsEnterprise ApplicationsiOS

Evernote 8.0, just released for all iOS devices, declutters the app's interface and makes it easier to create different types of notes, among other enhancements. But the app's stylus support still leaves something to be desired.

Evernote’s iOS app just received a much-needed interface makeover. It’slighter, easier to navigate, and faster in creating notes, whether they’re audio, photos, reminders, or text.

You’ll notice Evernote 8.0’s improvements on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. Some of the new features/refinements are already in the Evernote Android app or will be coming soon, a company representative told me. Here are five enhancements you’ll likely appreciate — plus one feature I’m still hoping Evernote will add.

evernote app ios Evernote

How Evernote on iPad used to look.

1. Less clutter

When you open Evernote for iOS, the home screen displays all your notes in a list, with the most recent first. The note previews are larger than before, so you can get a better sense of each note’s contents right away. The net effect is that the home screen feels less cluttered, more modern.

You can change the note list’s settings, choosing between small, medium, or large previews; turning off images or body text in previews; and organizing how notes in the list are sorted (by date updated, date created, or note title).

2. It’s easy to create different types of notes

Evernote has improved navigation, making it easy to create notes quickly. You can create new text notes by single-tapping the green ‘+’ button. Or, press and hold the button, or press and drag up, to quickly capture an audio note, a photo, or a new reminder.

3. It’s easy to filter notes

You can now filter notes in your list by tags, by tapping the tags icon, or by reminders, by tapping the reminder icon. Both icons live to the right of the search bar.

4. Switching between accounts

Have separate personal and business Evernote accounts? The app now lets you access both accounts and move notes from one to another.

5. Swipe left on notes

Another new feature I like: You can swipe left on a note to create a shortcut to it; set a reminder; or trash it.

Still waiting for freehand drawing

I love the freedom to use an Apple Pencil or other stylus to freely annotate or highlight text in Microsoft OneNote, Evernote’s chief competitor. Alas, Evernote’s support for stylus input remains constrained and awkward.

For example, with Evernote on iOS, you can’t simply drag your stylus across text to highlight it, as you can with OneNote. An Evernote executive I talked to noted my suggestion for easier stylus input. He added that that this release, version 8.0, is just “the initial starting point” for further refinements.

Evernote vs. OneNote

OneNote is a serious competitor to Evernote, especially if you’re entrenched in Office apps and want to make full use of your stylus. And Evernote has angered some loyal users in the past year or so, putting previously free features behind a paywall. The company further inflamed users with an ill-advised, since-reversed privacy policy update. That last faux pas put the company on NetworkWorld’s list of the ‘sorriest technology companies of 2016.’

But I continue to use Evernote as my web clipping tool of choice, as no other app I’ve tested does as good a job of helping you build a database of articles for future reference. And with version 8.0, Evernote has largely resolved one of the app’s biggest problems: its cluttered interface.